There is a reason Matt Groening’s venerable animated sit-com, The Simpsons, is the longest-running show currently on television. Actually, there are probably many reasons. First of all, the characters are lovable and memorable, each fulfilling a kind of modern archetype which befalls many a sit-com today. Homer is a bumbling idiot but well-meaning and lovable to boot. Marge is his doting wife with a bit of an edge. Bart is the rebellious eldest child and only son. Lisa is the overachieving middle child and oldest daughter. And Maggie, of course, is the baby who can do no wrong.
Obviously, the show’s cast reaches much further than the immediate family to include Homer’s father, Marge’s sisters, and an entire town of characters. And throughout the show’s multi-decade reign at the top, the lives of Springfield’s citizens have become almost as real as the lives of the fans who watch the show.
So real, in fact, that every fan has their favorite episode or line or moment. But how does one recall such a memory? It’s not like there is a Simpsons photo album or data base anywhere, is there?
Well, actually, there is. Sean Schulte, Paul Kehrer, and Allie Young have developed a data base of The Simpsons related images called the Frinkiac. Basically, a Simpson’s almanac named after the town’s nuttiest resident, Professor Frink. Simply input a line of dialogue and the database will spit out a series of images in which that scene takes place. Or, perhaps, search a single keyword and you can find and and every related image.
The Frinkiac’s fully searchable database is home to more than 3 million screenshots from the show’s first 15 seasons. In a statement, Frinkiac co-creator Paul Kehrer comments, “The Simpsons is one of greatest television comedies of all time and we hope that having ready access to the perfect screenshot will make people laugh and remind them to rewatch their favorite episodes.”
He also goes on to detail that every scene is chopped up into 100 sections, compiled mostly by subtle color shifts in the animation. Basically, there are enough screenshots that you could nearly go through all 15 seasons frame by glorious frame.
In the age of the emoji, the gif, and the meme, pictures really do speak a thousand words. In the case of the Frinkiac, a picture could speak an entire episode. Or more.